A confrontation between North Carolina police and a gun-wielding 76-year-old hospital patient had a tragic ending, as shown is a video released by the Huntersville Police Department.
In the bodycam footage posted below, Huntersville police are seen responding to a call at the Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center where an elderly Hurricane Irma evacuee was allegedly brandishing and firing a gun.
Armed officers confronting James Charles Cook in a hospital hallway can be seen ordering Cook to drop his gun before discharging their weapons, killing him in a volley of shots.
In December 2017, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather ruled that the two Huntersville police officers were justified in shooting and killing Cook, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Cook was receiving treatment at the hospital for a number of health issues, WCCB Charlotte reported.
A nurse who came to check up on him in his room on Sept. 10, 2017, saw him pull a gun out of his suitcase, according to investigation records released with the DA’s report, the Observer reported.
She ran to get a security guard, who reported hearing a gunshot. The unarmed security guard saw Cook walk out of his room holding a gun, the Observer reported, citing records.
An emergency call was made, and Huntersville officers Michael Joseph and Travis Watts responded to a report of shots fired.
In interviews with State Bureau of Investigations officials, the Observer reported, Watts and Joseph both said they saw Cook point a gun at Watts.
“Sir, show me your hands! Show me your hands! Do it now!” one officer can be heard in the video yelling. Another voice said “got a gun.”
Both officers then fired their weapons at Cook, killing him.
The recently released video was filmed by Joseph’s body camera. In it, Watts can be seen with a black shield and a gun.
The video shows the officers looking for Cook in the hospital and riding an elevator before they found him near a nurses’ station. It also shows the final moments of the deadly confrontation.
Officers continued to point their guns at Cook after shooting him.
“Sir! Put that gun down! Drop the gun … do not move! Do not move!” an officer is heard saying.
An officer can also be heard saying “check our backs and make sure nobody’s gonna shoot us.”
After the shooting, a spokesperson for Novant Health issued the following statement on the incident, according to WCCB Charlotte:
“We can confirm there was a shooting at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center resulting in the death of an individual. Without a doubt, this is a tragic situation. Our hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones of this individual and also to our team members and patients who were in the area when shots were fired. We are thankful for the quick response of the Huntersville Police Department who came to ensure the safety of our patients and team members.”
At Novant Health the safety of our patients and team members is at the forefront of everything that we do. We have plans and processes in place to respond to emergencies at our facilities, including on-site security. The emergency procedures were followed at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center today. Our team did everything they were trained to do to deescalate a volatile situation and keep our patients, their families and friends, and Novant Health team members safe.”
This is the type of situation that we hope will never occur, but why we train on a regular basis. Our all-hazards approach includes training and drills for things such as severe weather, fire, acts of violence, and response to mass casualty incidents. For example, in the past week our team prepped for the potential impact of Irma and stands ready to assist in the aftermath if needed.”
Click on the video above to watch how the tragic confrontation unfolded.